With a soft introduction last fall High Point Market, Ukraine-based Pikart Lights is ready for U.S. distribution and now has ETL certification. Michael Waggoner, Vice President of Pikart Lights USA, has been guiding the U.S. launch and details the complicated path it has taken to get the company’s line here in America.
Here is Michael’s story:
“Over the course of my 50-year home furnishings career, I have noticed that every now and then we find a set of circumstances so unlikely to lead to success that they would never be expected to produce anything worth noting. Yet in the last two years, in spite of all that is real, I have watched the ‘unlikely’ evolve with a small, but determined, lighting factory in western Ukraine as they somehow managed to defy the odds.
“In January 2020, I traveled to the Las Vegas furniture market just as COVID-19 was preparing to spread around the world.
“At market, I was introduced to the owners of a lighting factory in Lviv, Ukraine with their expectation that I might assist them to enter the U.S. marketplace. Prior to this meeting, I had not known of Ukraine as a supplier of home furnishings. The factory owners – full of enthusiasm and anticipation of success – proudly presented their product catalog to me for review. I was pleasantly surprised at such a pleasingly designed catalog with great photography showing many interesting products. Based on their enthusiasm, positive attitude, and the attractiveness of the lighting, I agreed to help them.
“As the pandemic raged throughout the world, we worked our way through the ups and downs of transforming the company and its products for the American market. However, every time we arrived at the starting gate, the virus once again reappeared and forced us to accept an unsure future. As hundreds of thousands were sickened worldwide, Pikart also lost its share of workers, but still remained steady in the storm, hoping for better weather ahead.
“In October 2021, a last-minute opportunity to send a few Pikart samples to the fall High Point market came up through our primary contact agent in Ukraine. Pikart rallied production and samples were rushed by air freight to High Point before market. The samples were quickly assembled and displayed in a small corner of another exhibitor’s show space. I contacted a highly respected, long-time lighting industry sales rep friend who examined the samples upon arrival and asked to represent the line in his territory. The dream had finally made its way to the USA.
“In February 2022, the virus was subsiding and we were again ready to launch the company into America — but along came Russia with its attacks on Ukraine. Once again, Pikart, using its amazing resiliency, did its best to keep workers on the job and fill what few orders were received. Fortunately, the Russian attacks have thus far largely spared western Ukraine, and Pikart is now once again ready to enter the U.S. market.
“Over the last 2.5 years, and in the face of numerous adverse events including the worst inflation in recent history, Pikart Lights has created a strong business plan that ensures quality products competitively priced and reliably delivered from its U.S. warehouse to American retailers within 15-20 days.
“While some say the incredible story of Pikart Lights has been somewhat of a miracle, Pikart says its story has only just begun.
The Pikart Lights line will be exhibiting at the High Point Market on the top floor of the Suites at Market Square (T- 410). Pikart Lights USA is also looking to expand its sales representation. Those interested in repping the line, should email Michael Waggoner at David.firstname.lastname@example.org